Maggie Siff plays Beatrice and Jonathan Cake Benedick in Theatre for a New Audience's new production of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Arin Arbus, beginning previews Saturday, February 2 at 8:00pm for an opening Sunday, February 17, at 3:00pm at The Duke on 42nd Street, 229 West 42nd Street.
"I'm thrilled Maggie Siff, who played Kate last season in The Taming of the Shrew directed by Arin Arbus, now takes on the role of Beatrice opposite Jonathan Cake (Medea on Broadway) as Benedick. They are strong contrasts with a wonderful sense of comedy -- one is American, the other British; one sophisticated, the other rough-edged playing two former lovers whose wit and wariness are perfectly matched," said Jeffrey Horowitz, Founding Artistic Director of Theatre for a New Audience.
Ms. Arbus says, "Beatrice asks Benedick 'Will you not tell me who you are?' This question preoccupies many of the characters and reveals anxiety underneath the exuberant wit, sophistication and humor of Shakespeare's comedy. Beatrice and Benedick's love is ambivalent, composed of desire and distrust, longing and shame, warmth and anger."
The production will be set in just before World War I in Sicily a patriarchal, Catholic society in which tradition and social ritual were central components of daily life. A maid's chastity, a man's honor were of the utmost importance. It was a moment in history when the entire world was on the brink of a new era. The world's understanding of the devastation of war and the roles of women were about to change.
Maggie Siff is acclaimed for her performances on stage, film and television, including Kate in The Taming of The Shrew, directed by Arin Arbus for Theatre for a New Audience last season. She is widely recognized for her TV roles on "Mad Men" and "Sons of Anarchy" and this year was nominated for a Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress in "Sons of Anarchy." In 2008, Ms. Siff and her "Mad Men" co-stars were nominated for the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Dramatic Series. She also received Philadelphia's Barrymore Award for Outstanding Leading Actress in Ibsen's Ghosts.
Jonathan Cake has appeared on stage, film and television. He played major classical roles at the Royal Shakespeare Company, London's Shakespeare's Globe (Coriolanus), BAM and on Broadway (Jason in Medea opposite Fiona Shaw for which he won the Theatre World Award) and Lincoln Center Theater (Iachimo in Cymbeline). His films include Brideshead Revisited, True Blue and The One and Only and on television, "Desperate Housewives" and "Six Degrees."
Arin Arbus, Associate Artistic Director, Theatre for a New Audience. In 2009, Charles Isherwood, New York Times, called her "the most gifted new director to emerge." For Theatre for a New Audience she has directed Shakespeare's Othello (Lortel nomination Outstanding Revival) and Macbeth both with John Douglas Thompson; Measure for Measure with Jefferson Mays (Lortel Nomination Outstanding Revival) and last season's The Taming of the Shrew. She was a Playwrights Horizons Directing Resident, a Williamstown Workshop Directing Corps Member, a member of Soho Rep's Writer/Director Lab, and is a Drama League Directing Fellow, and a Princess Grace Award Recipient. She has directed at Houston Grand Opera, Woodbourne Correctional Facility, The New School for Drama, Intiman Theatre, Hangar Theatre, Theatre Outlet, Fringe NYC, Storm Theatre, HERE Arts Center, Juilliard and Williamstown Workshop.
Rounding out the cast are:
Matthew Amendt, Claudio (Henry V with The Acting Company at the New Victory; The Subject Was Roses and The Misanthrope at the Pearl; The Great Gatsby at the Guthrie);
Michelle Beck, Hero (The Public Theater: Richard III, Love's Labor's Lost; The Bridge Project: As You Like It, The Tempest);
Denis Butkus, Conrade (Theatre for a New Audience: The Taming of the Shrew; Macbeth, Othello, Measure for Measure; Broadway: The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, The Coast of Utopia);
Liam Forde, Balthazar (Off-Broadway debut; Regional/tours: Amazing Grace, Seussical , How to Succeed..., Gypsy, Rocky Horror);
John Christopher Jones, Dogberry (Theatre for a New Audience: The Taming of the Shew, Don Juan, Engaged, All's Well That Ends Well, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, Macbeth; Broadway: Otherwise Engaged, Hurlyburly, Democracy);
John Keating, Verges (Theatre for a New Audience: The Taming of the Shrew, The Broken Heart, Measure for Measure; Atlantic Theatre: The New York Idea; The Mint: Is Life Worth Living? and John Ferguso; Roundabout: Juno and the Paycock);
Robert Langdon Lloyd, Leonato (Theatre for a New Audience: The Taming of the Shew; The Broken Heart, Macbeth, Measure For Measure, Othello; Peter Brook: C.I.C.T.; Royal Shakespeare Company: King Lear, The Mahabharata);
Paul Niebanck, Borachio (Theatre for a New Audience: All's Well That Ends Well, Coriolanus; Pericles; Primary Stages: RX; Lincoln Center Theater: Blood and Gifts, In the Next Room; Signature: The American Clock, The Pussycat);
Kate MacCluggage, Margaret (Theatre for a New Audience: Merchant of Venice; Broadway: The Farnsworth Invention; Off Broadway: The 39 Steps);
Peter Maloney, Antonio (Theatre for a New Audience: The Taming of the Shrew; Broadway: Hughie, Dinner at Eight, Arcadia, Six Degrees of Separation, Carousel);
Saxon Palmer, Don John (Theatre for a New Audience: The Taming of the Shrew; The Broken Heart, The Merchant of Venice, The Jew of Malta, Ohio State Murders; Broadway:Three Sisters, Design for Living);
Elizabeth Meadows Rouse, Ursula (Theatre for a New Audience: Othello, Comedy of Errors; London: Shakespeare's Globe; Broadway: The Rose Tattoo);
Spiff Wiegand, The Watch (Upcoming album: The Onliest, a collection of live "one-man-band" performances; Off Broadway & National Tour: Fame;Regional: Godspell, The Buddy Holly Story, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) and...
Graham Winton, Don Pedro (Theatre For A New Audience: The Taming Of The Shrew, Macbeth, Measure For Measure, Othello, Julius Caesar, Don Juan, Pericles; Broadway:Cyrano De Bergerac, A Man For All Seasons, The Tempest, Two Shakespearean Actors).
Scenery is by Riccardo Hernandez, costumes by Constance Hoffman, lighting by Don Holder, original music by Michael Friedman, dance by Austin McCormick; fights by J Allen Suddeth, voice direction by Andrew Wade and dramaturgy by Jonathan Kalb.
Riccardo Hernandez has designed scenery for Broadway: Tony Kushner's Caroline, or Change, Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks, Elaine Stritch; At Liberty Bring in Da Noise/Bring in Da Funk, The Tempest, Parade, and Bells Are Ringing.
Constance Hoffman has designed costumes for opera, dance and theatre regionally, internationally, and in New York City, including collaborations with theatre artists such as Mark Lamos, Julie Taymor, Eliot Feld, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, opera directors Robert Carsen, David Alden, Christopher Alden, Keith Warner, and entertainer Bette Midler. For Theatre for a New Audience, she designed The Green Bird, directed by Julie Taymor, both on and Off Broadway.
Donald Holder has been nominated for eight Tony Awards, winning the 1998 Tony Award for Best Lighting Design as well as the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lighting Design for The Lion King. He won a second Tony in 2008 for the revival of South Pacific.
Michael Friedman has composed music for Theatre for a New Audience's The Taming of the Shrew & All's Well That Ends Well and wrote the music and lyrics to Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which recently played at The Public Theater and on Broadway. An Associate Artist with The Civilians, he is a co-author of Paris Commune (BAM Next Wave Festival 2012).
Austin McCormick's choreography has been presented at the Kennedy Center, La MaMa, Symphony Space, The Flea, Walter Reade Theater, Mark Morris Dance Center and internationally in London, Mexico, Scotland and Montreal. He won Opera America's 2011 Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Grant, the 2010 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Best Choreography, and the Susan Braun Award.
J. Allen Suddeth is a Broadway veteran of ten shows, over 150 Off-Broadway shows, and hundreds of regional theatre productions. He has staged over 750 television shows. For Theatre for a New Audience, he has worked on The Broken Heart, Henry V, Cymbeline, and As You Like It.
Andrew Wade, Theatre for a New Audience's Resident Director of Voice, has worked on Theatre for a New Audience's Notes from Underground, Hamlet and Chair. He was Head of Voice for the RSC from 1990 to 2003.
Jonathan Kalb is Professor of Theatre at Hunter College and Literary Advisor and Resident Artist at Theatre for a New Audience. He has twice won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, which he received for his books Beckett in Performance (1991) and Great Lengths: Seven Works of Marathon Theater (2012). Great Lengths also won the Theater Library Association's George Freedley Award.
Box Office: Tickets are $75 and may be purchased via phone at 646-223-3010 or via the web at www.Dukeon42.org. $10.00 New Deal tickets, for ages 25 and under or full-time students of any age, may be purchased in advance on line or in person at the box office (with code NEWDEAL) for any show of Much Ado. See www.tfana.org for details. Valid ID listing proof of age or enrollment as a full-time student required.